Wales must not miss out on HS2 fair funding, AM warns

Tivyside Advertiser: Elin Jones AM at Aberystwyth railway station. (6263324) Elin Jones AM at Aberystwyth railway station. (6263324)

The development of high-speed rail in England should trigger an economic stimulus for Wales, according to Ceredigion AM Elin Jones.

Plaid Cymru has undertaken a detailed analysis by the party’s chief economic advisor Eufyl ap Gwilym, which demonstrates that a fair share of HS2 funding for Wales would be an important source of capital investment for the country’s economy. The analysis shows that a “fair share” of HS2 funding for Wales would be worth around £1bn over a decade from the first phase of the project.

Plaid Cymru is campaigning in Westminster for the HS2 project to be subject to the usual “Barnett formula” calculations

Elin Jones said: "HS2 is a huge economic opportunity for parts of England. Research carried out by KPMG shows that it is likely to bring huge economic gains to London and Birmingham, whilst other regions could suffer - KPMG suggest Wales could lose out to the tune of over £200m a year. To counter that we need to be able to invest in our infrastructure alongside the development of HS2.

“We had to fight tooth and nail to get an hourly service to Aberystwyth, and need a proper feasibility study on reopening rail links to the south. If Wales got its fair share of HS2 funding we could seriously address some of the weak points in the transport system.”

Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym said: “The analysis I have written shows several different scenarios of how HS2 expenditure could affect Wales. The UK Government should classify the project as England-only expenditure, as was the case with Crossrail in London. A glance at the map demonstrates that both phases of HS2 are entirely within England. Furthermore, I have set out that devolution of rail infrastructure spending would increase the amount of money we would receive, due to the way the Barnett formula works.

“Given the current confusion and disagreement between the UK and Welsh governments over the funding for the electrification of the Valley lines it is even more important that the Welsh government marshals its arguments well in time and ensures that Wales gets a fair deal.”

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